Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has urged the Taoiseach and Minister for Health to intervene and end maternity restrictions for expectant women and their partners.
Deputy McDonald was speaking in support of an open letter signed by 60,000 people that called on government, NPHET and HSE to act.
Speaking this evening, Teachta McDonald said:
“Expectant mothers and their partners are understandably angered and frustrated that their needs have not been given any meaningful consideration during the process of easing public health restrictions.
“They have carried an unequal share of the burden during the fight against Covid-19 and now they need to be heard.
“The World Health Organisation strongly recommends supporting women to have a chosen companion during labour and childbirth, including during Covid-19 restrictions.
“Instead, we hear daily stories of women going to their appointments alone while their partner has been left outside in the car park.
“Sadly, in some instances, we have been told of women being told the most awful of news with nobody there to comfort them.
“These are real women and these are real stories, and their partners deserve more than the role of afterthought.
“The vast majority of maternity staff are vaccinated, while pregnant women are being prioritised for vaccination.
“This progress, along with the extensive public health measures being enforced across our hospitals and maternity services, overwhelmingly strengthens the argument that we must end maternity restrictions now.
“The Taoiseach and Minister for Health must intervene and agree to the campaign’s minimum standards of care, and minimum standards of partner access for all hospitals and maternity services during pregnancies.
“This must include access to all appointments and scans during the course of a mother’s pregnancy and labour, as well as all neonatal and postnatal care.”